The 40 Best Haircuts for Thick Hair That Work with Your Glorious Volume

Like the Butterfly Cut, Bixie, French Bob and Shag

Those of us with thick hair usually have one objective when considering a new haircut: to decrease the potential for poof. As Jasmine Burnside, editorial and celebrity hairdresser explains, “With thick hair, you have a high density of strands per square inch of your scalp.” Some folks also have thicker individual strands (hi!), which adds even more bulk.

The good news is that volume is never an issue. Rather, you’re optimizing your abundant mane by creating some shape and movement throughout. “For me, it’s less about finding the best haircut, but more about how you cut the hair and the techniques and tools you use,” says Burnside.

“Depending on the desired haircut, I would approach the look by using a razor to take out weight from the inside, which you can see in action here. If the hair is on the frizzier side, using a scissor to slide cut gives similar results,” she adds.

This is why finding a skilled stylist who can work with your hair and styling preferences is so important. Having some points of reference can also help, which is what we’ll help you with ahead.

Meet the Experts

  • Jasmine Burnside is a celebrity hairstylist based in New York City, specializing in editorial, commercial and wedding hair styling. Originally from Maryland, Burnside attended a Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School. Her clients include actresses Ashley Reyes, Nida Khurshid, Gus Birney and Jessica Hecht. She’s worked on major runway shows and editorial campaigns including: Vogue, Marc Jacobs, ELLE, Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice and Olivia and Cosmopolitan, to name a few.
  • Trace Henningsen is a celebrity hairstylist and ambassador for Leonor Greyl. She is currently based in Los Angeles. From cuts to color to special event styling, Henningsen's skills are especially sought after for weddings. She also has a line of couture bridal accessories and jewelry called Henningsen & Co.
  • Priscilla Valles is an industry vet of 23 years, specializing in hair extensions for celebrities like Dua Lipa, Shay Mitchell, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber. She created her very own dream line of hair extensions for the first-ever collaboration with Glam Seamless.
  • Chaz Dean is a celebrity hairstylist, colorist and the founder of WEN hair and body care line. Dean has over 25 years of experience, and his salon has served the likes of Ming-Na Wen, Nicole Murphy, Gilles Marini, Alyssa Milano, Gwyneth Paltrow and others. WEN is also the winner of multiple QVC Beauty Awards.
  • Nick Stenson is the artistic director at Matrix, a haircare and color brand specializing in products for all hair types. Stenson is also the founder of Nick Stenson Beauty, a curated collection of luxe beauty staples. He is the 2021 winner of the North American Hairstyling Awards for the styling and finishing category.

The Coolest Styling Hack for Thick Hair, According to TikTok

1. Long Layers

For those who prefer a low-maintenance cut, adding long layers throughout can break up the bulk without requiring any more upkeep. As Henningsen explains, “The secret weapon to thick hair is long layers because they create movement and make your hair feel lighter.”

2. Blunt Ends

Isla Fisher’s lush curls look especially polished thanks to those clean-cut ends. (Note: This is also a good way to freshen up scraggly strands that have been damaged by too much heat or color.)

3. Beachy Bob

Another option for thick and wavy hair? A beachy bob with blunt ends and some bulk removed from the inside to bring out that texture.

4. Textured Bob

Here’s a 360 look of a similar style with slightly more textured ends. “I like to use thinning sheers to lighten up the ends, starting just a few inches from the scalp,” says Valles.

5. Sleek Bob

On the flip side, we have a sleek, straight bob that sits squarely above the shoulders. The weight is removed from the inside and cut in a slight A-line, so what you see is this flattering shape instead of the dreaded triangle.

6. Asymmetrical Cut

Thick curls do well with this style because there’s a balance between the natural weight of your hair and thoughtfully placed layers to give the whole look some shape.

7. Shoulder-Length Lob

Dead ends weighing you down? A soft, layered lob that falls at or just below the shoulders is an ideal length for thick tresses that need a refresh.

8. Face-framing Layers

No matter your texture, face-framing layers add flattering shape—regardless of whether you decide to wear your hair curly one day and straight the next.

9. Curtain Bangs

Did you really think you’d make it this far into a hair story without seeing a mention of curtain bangs? Jokes aside, the parted fringe works especially well on thick hair (as seen to great effect here).

10. ‘90s Layers

You know the look: long, otherwise sleek hair, save for the aggressively curled in ends.

11. Textured Shag

Note: This cut will require more upkeep due to the different layers and their placement. However, if you’re seeking a funky fresh change, a textured shag certainly delivers.

12. Blended Shag

For a softer take on the look, opt for longer, blended layers and use color placement to break up the texture.

13. Shorter Shag

You could also go shorter with choppy layers and thinned out ends. Tip: Get yourself a texturizing spray to add some definition throughout.

14. Swept-over Pixie

Let the natural weight of your hair do the work for you by sweeping it over to one side. (Psst, this cut also has the bonus effect of highlighting your cheekbones.)

15. Undercut Pixie

Removing hair from underneath can keep the overall cut from looking like a mushroom cap. You can do this with longer hair as well.

16. Defined Curls

Let your natural texture shine by keeping the layers light and long so everything sits just above your shoulders.

17. Tucked-in Bob

Thick hair usually gets very bulky on the bottom and behind the neck. Depending on the natural texture, ask your stylist about using a razor cut to take the weight out just behind the neck.

18. A-Line Bob

Show off your lush locks with a blunt bob and slight A-lined ends to graze your collarbones (and gently frame your face).

19. Curly Fawcett

What goes around, comes around—especially when it comes to beauty trends. If you have naturally thick curls, you could try a Farrah Fawcett-inspired cut to really let those ringlets shine.

20. Angled Pixie

Ask your stylist to keep the back and sides snipped close to your head to balance out the weight of the longer pieces on top.

21. Mid-Length Magic

Torn between going short or staying long? Always. Luckily, a mid-length cut is a happy (and flattering) medium that does well with heavier hair.

22. Mid-Length with Fringe

Again, mid-length cut = magic on thick hair. A full fringe (and playful highlights) add extra sparkle.

23. Sculpted Curls

This side-by-side comparison shows how much a good haircut can liven up thick curls.

24. Swept-Over Waves

If your styling MO is less is more, you can’t go wrong with a swept-over style and barely-there layers.

25. Side-Swept Curls

Textured, piecier layers remove excess weight, while adding movement and shape.

26. French Girl Bob

Oo la la. The flipped ends, the rounded bangs, the cheekbone-grazing ends. It’s all trés bien.

27. Full Fringe

You know who pulls off bangs like no one else? You, because you have the heft to keep them from looking stringy.

28. Volume Waves

Again, work with your natural volume and have your stylist just clean up the ends and add a few, well-placed layers in the front to give your hair a little shape.

29. Tapered Bob

This bob is like the undercut styles above, but with less contrast between the longer and shorter layers, so the effect is softer.

30. Modern Mullet

If you’re done with subtle and looking for more of a statement style, we present the modern mullet, which has risen in popularity over the past couple of years (and works especially well with thick hair because the layers help bring out your natural texture, while removing some of the bulk).

31. The Mixie

ICYMI: One of the biggest hair trends last year was the ‘mixie’ (a mullet and pixie), which combines the two classic cuts to create an edgier style.

32. The Bixie

Halle Berry made waves after she debuted her Bixie haircut, which—you guessed it—is a cross between a bob and a pixie cut. The magic of this cut is that the top layers make your hair appear voluminous, while the length around the neck frames the face beautifully and balances the overall shape.

33. The Wixie

We promise this is the last iteration of the pixie on the list (for now). The latest take on the cut is the Wixie, which is a winged pixie that consists of wispier pieces around the face, layers down the sides that flip upwards or wing out and longer tresses that hug the neck.

34. Octopus Haircut

Named for the way the cut is round and more bulbous up top and spreads out at the bottom (like an octopus head and its tentacles), the style shares many similarities with a shag. Ask your stylist for lots of layers—or better yet, bring in an inspiration photo like the one above.

35. The Italian Bob

Rounding out the list is one of our favorite style of the year so far: the Italian Bob (aka “The Boyfriend Bob,") which took Instagram and TikTok when Florence Pugh wore the look to Cannes last summer. The key to getting this look is to have your stylist snip in some interior layers to add separation and keep the overall shape from becoming too round.

36. Choppy Bob

“A choppy bob works well with thick hair since it usually involves lots of layers vs. a classic blunt bob that would be super heavy looking because there is no layering,” Dean explains. Applying mousse and a glossy serum can encourage texture and shine. On that note, when styling at home, Dean recommends either diffusing the strands or air drying and then setting your hair with a finishing spray to hold the shape.

37. Medium Shag

Both Dean and Stenson agree that the key to getting the best haircut for thick hair is layering because it removes weight—which makes the shag a great choice. Plus, it’s easy to style. Just apply styling cream and mousse to wet hair and then air or blow dry, Dean says. “Finish by misting a texturizing spray on your ends to accentuate the layers.”

38. Graduated Pixie

“Graduated cuts equal a boost of height and volume by stacking your layers,” Dean explains. “You don’t need to do a whole lot except use a styling creme and mousse on wet hair to set the foundation. Once dry, you can use a texturizing paste to define your style by piecing out sections, bangs or even adding extra lift underneath at the roots.”

39. Butterfly Haircut

The popular butterfly haircut is one of the best haircuts for thick hair, according to Stenson. Here, long layers are the name of the game and the key to wearing it well is how you style it. To begin, Stenson recommends applying mousse to damp hair, which will ensure control and longevity. Then, he uses a medium or large ceramic round brush (this provides maximum air flow), wrapping the hair away from the face while drying on medium heat. “Once hair is cool, use your fingers to rake through and finish with hairspray (like Matrix Vavoom Triple Freeze). If your hair is naturally curly or coily, you’ll want to switch out the mousse for leave-in conditioner.

40. Disconnected Inverted Bob Shag

The disconnected inverted bob shag is all about the layers, creating a striking A-line down to the jaw. You can even ask for some face-framing bangs. (Just don’t go too blunt with them, as the style will feel bulky.) To style, apply mousse to wet hair and blow-dry. Use a wide-barrel curling iron if you want to add waves and set your strands with some hairspray for additional volume and hold.

How to Care for Thick Hair

“The key to thick hair care and maintenance is knowing when to cleanse and how often,” Dean explains. If your hair is thick with a fine texture, you can wash it more often. However, he notes that coarser hair often lacks moisture, so when washing, products like a cleansing conditioner can help with hydration.

“In general, hair should be shampooed when it begins to show signs of oiliness, loses its natural movement and/or when it just feels uncomfortable for your scalp,” Stenson explains. “If your hair is naturally dry or damaged, you will want to extend your time between shampoos as much as is comfortable for you. When hair is extremely dense or thick, you may feel the need to shampoo more often due to natural oils being more readily trapped in the hair near the scalp. My biggest tip for cleansing dense-thick hair of any texture type is to not rush through it. Take your time to ensure a proper cleanse at the scalp. Always rinse with cool water longer than you think you need to.”

“By applying thinning techniques in thick hair, it makes all the difference in setting the client up for success when styling at home,” Dean notes.

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